Perhaps the biggest draw of the Insurance Conference Planner's Association annual summer Forum, whose attendance is restricted to insurance and financial services meeting professionals and a few lucky suppliers, is the opportunity for planners to network with and learn from each other. Held at the landmark Fairmont San Francisco Hotel, this year's meeting from July 18 to 20 buzzed with lively conversation — and laughter — from start to finish.

The good news: While planners are continually challenged to do more with less, insurance and financial services companies have not cut back the number of their incentive meetings, and are moving forward with both domestic and international programs for 2003 and 2004.

During the Forum, attendees experienced some of the best that San Francisco has to offer. The food, the wine, and the sweeping cityscape views were magnificent — from the opening wine-tasting reception in a freshly renovated room with drop-dead views in the Westin St. Francis; to a gourmet lunch at the coolly elegant new Four Seasons San Francisco; to dessert and cordials at the Fairmont's fabulous, 10,000-square-foot penthouse suite.

Other highlights: Los Angeles detective Kevin Coffey on travel safety, and Kimball Anderson and Sam Stanton of Big Red Photo showing all the cool things planners can do with digital photography. Look for more information in a future issue of ICP.